A conditional use permit for a geoduck and littleneck clam farm on state-owned tidelands was approved this week by the Juneau Planning Commission.
The applicant, Thomas Manning, proposes a 40,250-square-foot farm in North Bridget Cove, offshore at Mile 38 Glacier Highway. The farm would be on tidelands and submerged lands, a strip 100 feet wide for a total of an acre. From the road system, the site is accessible only by foot.
A report dated Jan. 11 to the Planning Commission by city Community Development Department planner Teri Camery noted that "Though the proposed clam farm signifies the first commercial activity in or near Bridget Cove Park, the farm will not create noise and will rarely be visible. ... The project is not expected to significantly disturb the remote natural qualities of the area."
Dale Pernula, Community Development Department director, said the permit was granted Tuesday with six conditions:
Access to the site shall be by boat only.
Aquatic farming may not be conducted in eelgrass beds where Dungeness crab spawn.
On-site farming will not be allowed during the peak herring spawn time period of April 16 to May 15.
No wastes of any kind may be discharged or otherwise disposed of at the site. On-site shucking and processing are not allowed, although sorting, washing, grading and packaging are permissible.
The public shall continue to have access to plants, fish and wildlife resources, and shellfish other than the species cultured at the farm.
If the project is expanded through the addition of a joint-use cabin or storage shed, Manning must apply for another conditional use permit.
The proposition was reviewed by the city Parks and Recreation Advisory Board on Dec. 4. Several residents objected to the farm because the area is used for recreation and boat anchorage, and there are few other sheltered harbors nearby for gillnetters. Others noted specific seasonal uses by steelhead, Dolly Varden and coho fishermen, clam diggers, campers and hikers.
The Community Development Department believes the six conditions will satisfy those objections, Pernula said.
Manning is an art teacher at Juneau-Douglas High School. His application, filed in November, stated that littlenecks are ready for harvest after two years, while geoducks reach optimum market size of 2 to 3 pounds after four years of growth.
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.